Thursday, June 30, 2005

Follow the Money

Ok, so Natalie just asked, "What do you think of churches who spend tons of money on facilities for their members or their community?"

This is another tricky one, but I really think some churches cross the line with this. The mandates are definitely (I feel) more on the "help the poor" side of things rather than the "build a cool club house" side. That's just personal opinion, though. There's always the tension between the "come and see" model vs. the "go ye therefore" model. I think there are two issues here that I think we should tackle:

1. Do we think that the church has a responsibility to provide a "sacred" space to the community? How far does this thought go? Should there always be a place to pray, like the Catholic or Orthodox churches offer the community? Should we build basketball courts, etc., for the community (or for ourselves)?

2. Lesslie Newbigin (a guy whom we ALL must read!!!) says that the local church is the hermeneutic of the gospel to the community it is within. Basically, the community only knows what the Gospel says by what the church does. I think we have a missional/evangelistic responsibility as the church to our community to handle whatever money God has given us prayerfully and with the realization that our actions are preaching to the world about who God is and what is important to Him.

Roland Allen (another must read) said that the same way we judge Christians in the Middle Ages as Military Christians, who "shared" their faith by conquering people, we will be judged in the future as Financial Christians, who depend far too heavily on money to be the prime element in our witnessing, serving, and mission activities. Allen said this around 1915. If it was true then, can you imagine how much more it applies to us today?

My second point (buried deeply as it is) is that we MUST work out what it means to deal with money in our contexts today. I think this is another part of the ongoing community exegesis our churches must engage in and we must have a philosophy of money, as our churches and our world is consumed with it. Richard Foster has a book called The Challenge of the Disciplined Life, which at first was called Money, Sex and Power. I think each church must deal with these three issues and what it means to have a Christian idea about each of these three issues.

I'll jump off the soap box now and whoever wants to jump on, please feel free!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Above Reproach

Well, the question has come up about what the phrase "above reproach" means. I think there are two guiding principles in the phrase itself that are important. It seems to deal with the public nature of a possible sin and/or the seriousness of the sin.

I think, though, that the answer won't be found as much in the phrase itself as it will be found in the community interpretation of the phrase. Each community needs to decide for itself what these standards are and should be. It shouldn't be just one person's interpretation or even a small group's interpretation of what it means, but the whole community must work through what it means to be above reproach in that community.

This kind of thing is not done often in our churches, so we have to work through what it means. There's a real fear that this process will result in a "wrong" theology and that we must appeal to "experts" in these cases, but the whole church is the called out people and must argue this type of stuff through to faithfully communicate Christ and demonstrate the kingdom of God to the world around us. We've got to decide this as a community rule, and then stick to it (that's the important part!).

Well, those are my thoughts. Let's engage in a little community hermeneutical interpretation and decide what we think about it here in our little corner of the web.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Possible use for the blog?

Being an opinionated person who never swerves from an opportunity to talk off the top of my head (and/or out of my butt), I get a lot of questions of the "What do you think about..." variety. I'd love for people to email me some of these and I'll post the questions and we'll let the community has some things out. If you want to remain anonymous or whatnot, that's cool, but I think this could be a place to really talk about some "real" things, as the people who usually stop by here are pretty smart and articulate and never shy away from tackling whatever issue comes their way.

Let me know what you think. If you don't know (and I think there's a link on the page but I'm pretty web illiterate), my email address is

Drop me a line!

The Future's so Bright I Gotta Wear Shades :(

Ok, well, in my attempt to actually put something here daily as an exercise in discipline I have been stymied in my search for an interesting topic to discuss. What is the source of this distraction, you ask? It is the Dell DJ30, a 30GB mp3 player that is the cooling thing since sliced bread. Although not as chic or nerdy-beautiful as the iPod, it was much cheaper and I got a free month of Napster where you can access their entire library.

So... I now have the new: Beck, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, White Stripes, and Gorillaz albums downloaded and on my DJ, and have found some cool African hip-hop artists called Gidi Gidi Maji Maji that are too cool for school. My two-days of accumulation plus what I had before have resulted in sucking up about a Gig and a half and there's so much more to discover. I can find all that late-80s early-90s hip hop that define my childhood (yeah, I was a latchkey kid).

This of course results in much wasting of time, but I'm not missing it.

The other reason for not being a regular staple of the blogger community (yep, just me and a few million of my closest friends), is that school is kicking my butt. My GPA has never been this good, even in high school, but I'm certainly feeling the effects of coasting on the ability to write and never developing a disciplined approach to school. Even when I get stuff done early, somehow there's always one thing that gets done at or near the last minute (sometimes literally).

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Monday I start Theological German and Biblical Foundations of Mission. The latter is a one-week intensive that goes from 8:30am to 4:50pm and there are assignments due Tuesday-Friday. Then, Tuesday and Thursday nights I get to go to German from 6-8. Good times.

Most of my friends here have about this same schedule this summer, with a few adding trips to Africa or Thailand in the midst of the craziness, too. So, my whining falls on deaf ears here and I'm forced to whine via blog :)

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Ok, sorry for the absence to the three people who read this! I'll have to send out a big email again to get more people on board. Last quarter was a bit of a bear, but the summer months will be a little more laid back (even though I'm taking 16 units, including Theological German, woo hoo!).

So, the rest of the morning and afternoon, I'm going to go to work and figure out my schedule this summer. Hopefully some friends will come visit me in Lala land (hint hint) soon, and we'll have tales to tell.